Luke Pappaspanos, Guest Writer

Any art or media studies student knows an artist owns an instrument whether it is a paintbrush, felt, wood, glass, a script, piano, or graphite. Individually each work portrays beauty, together they play a symphony. Designers like Jan Byron, a mixed media artist from Dallas, Texas, and Kim Carr, a photographer from New Florence, Missouri, participated at both the Queeny Park and the St. Louis Art Fairs.  

On Sept. 6-8, The St. Louis Art Fair in Clayton had over 600 artists. The vendors came from all over the United States and had numerous types of artwork on display to purchase.  

A Missouri native from Hannibal, Michael Paul Cole, showed his wooden frames made from various items and said he even “goes to flea markets” to purchase materials.  

Andrew Shea, a glass master from Minnesota, explained that it takes two weeks to complete his artwork. He chooses to construct several projects at a time and uses 1,000 pounds of clear glass and uses colored glass to add to his designs.  

Whereas, kiln-fired glass expert Patty Roberts from Marysville, Washington said it takes one week to finish one of her glass masterpieces. She too works on more than one project at a time.  

Our Illinois neighbor James Pearce, a woodworks designer, had a circular cabinet 48″ tall for sale. When asked how long it took to build the cabinet he stated, “It took too long, I don’t remember.”  

The Third Degree Glass Factory demonstrated how to melt down glass and make marbles, beads and other colorful glass objects.  

Amber Marshall from North Carolina explained how heat is used to manipulate the glass to make  a design. She had framed glass that looked just like elastic bands rolled up like ribbon—it was impressive. Many of these creative souls were more than willing to explain the process towards their magnificent works, while others were not willing to share any secrets about the evolution of the final project.  

Another type of art exhibit was the performing arts area. The River Blenders Chorus performed on the main stage. A competition for high school students was held called Sing for Scholarships, where audience members were able to cast a vote for the performer(s) they thought should win. The River Blenders Chorus have performed at the fair for the past 10 years but have been around for 40 years. It is an all-female chorus and they sponsor the competition for scholarships.  

For the hungry fair patrons there was an entire street block serving food and beverages. Many different food options were available including Pappy’s Smokehouse, Mandarin House, Rearn Thai, Mayana Mexican Kitchen, Hank’s Cheesecake, and the Simba Ugandan Restaurant. 

An artist knows it takes time, patience and practice to perfect the final display. Each art vendor in the orchestra knows that the arts will continue to play a symphony like no other which touches all five senses of the viewers.  

Upcoming art fairs include Missouri Mosaics Fine Art Festival in St Charles (Sept. 13-15), UMSL’s Blaque Art Fair on Sept. 21, Edwardsville Art Fair in Edwardsville, Illinois (Sept. 27-29), Art in the Park in St. Louis Hills (Sept. 29-30), and the Historic Shaw Art Fair (Oct. 5-6).  

A popular bumper sticker reads: “Earth” without “art” is just “Eh.”